Pilot Scheme for Hourly Renewable Energy Certificates in UK Seeks To Empower Consumers

Plans proposed by energy suppliers working with a Startup called Granular could mark a sea change in making consumers aware of their power sources, and more importantly, benefit from discounts from there is a surplus of renewable power.

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A consortium of leading energy organisations led by hourly certificate focused start-up Granular and including European power market Nord Pool, Elexon, Energy System Catapult and Unicorn, is launching a new mechanism for hourly renewable energy certificates in Great Britain.

The move comes off the back of a global drive towards greater transparency in energy procurement, known as ‘24/7 carbon-free energy.’ Recently, organisations such as Google, Microsoft and the US Federal Government have made commitments to source carbon-free energy on an hour-by-hour basis, in an effort to have greater carbon reducing impact through their energy purchases.

In existing energy certificate schemes, such as the UK’s Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO), renewable generation and consumption are matched on an annual basis. This fails to reflect the ‘real world’ situation, where the availability of renewable energy fluctuates from hour-to-hour.

The certification system, which has been designed to comply with the EnergyTag guidelines, will allow participants to receive hourly certificates for their power generation in the Certigy registry, managed by established Guarantee of Origin registry provider Unicorn.

Using Granular’s management platform, energy users will be able to verify, for the first time, where their electricity is coming from on an hourly basis. Participants will also be able trade these hourly certificates bilaterally or on a centralised auction managed jointly by Granular and Nord Pool, to improve their level of hourly matching. The mechanism will also allow participation for storage, so that certificates can be stored and re-issued later. These certificates, combined with an exchange to trade individual hours, will create an important price signal that drives investment in the technologies needed to reach a fully carbon-free grid.

The new certification system will be initially launched as a pilot project, which will start at the end of April with a series of stakeholder engagement workshops and is still open to new participants.

Nicholas Rubin, market architect at Elexon said: “Great Britain has committed to achieving a fully decarbonised power system by 2035. In order to accelerate this transition, Elexon is supporting initiatives that contribute toward decarbonising the power sector and achieving net-zero.”

National Grid ESO and Energy System Catapult are also supporting this new initiative, realising the potential benefit that an hourly signal on renewable availability can bring to the whole electric system.

Toby Ferenczi, co-founder of Granular, commented: “Hourly energy tracking is vital to building trust in clean energy claims and creates a razor-sharp price signal that will accelerate investment in the technologies needed to deliver clean energy 24/7 worldwide.”

Julien Cossé, Director Strategy and Business Development at Nord Pool, added “Nord Pool is very excited to support Granular in exploring a centralised exchange for hourly energy certificates, providing the trust, transparency and liquidity that nascent market needs. As a pioneer of power markets in Europe, working with Granular is a natural fit for Nord Pool.”

The move assumes significance at a time when the UK, and many other markets in Europe are facing situations when they are power surplus, forcing curtailments, even as they buy expensive power at other hours. A major energy storage movement has taken root therefore to even out such imbalances.

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